Constitutionality can often be a question of inches. What an officer does, or where he or she goes in the process of investigating or arresting someone can be the difference between evidence being constitutional and thus admissible or being excluded.
Officer Smells Drugs
A recent case dealt with the question of what happens when an officer’s head comes just inches too far into a defendant’s vehicle. The case arose when an officer stopped a man for speeding. When the man rolled down his window, the officer testified that he smelled an odor of marijuana when he learned his head into the car through the open window. Another officer was called to the scene, who conducted a scan with a trained police dog. The dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs, and the defendant himself admitted to it.